Blog / Reblog from : Decoding Art’s DNA



By Teka

Have you been to yet?  This awesome site – focused on news from the country’s top research universities – was pointed out to me by the Nasher’s own Rebecca Swartz.  She directed me to their social/cultural area and a pretty interesting post about researchers from Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago working to decode art’s DNA at.  I can imagine this technology eventually extending to museums as a form of authentication – good news for registrars.  Here’s an excerpt:

Researchers from Northwestern University, together with collaborators from the Art Institute of Chicago, have completed the first comprehensive survey of the alloy composition of a large number of cast bronze sculptures by major European artists from the first half of the 20th century.

The researchers classified the unique composition profiles of 62 modern sculptures by linking data from the alloy composition of these sculptures with parameters from art history, including artist, foundry, casting methods, and casting date.

These profiles—where a sculpture’s metal composition is akin to DNA’s genetic information—could be used as another method to identify, date, and even authenticate sculptures.

The foundries of the early 20th century were quite secretive about the bronze composition they used, to prevent other foundries from producing a superior product. This suggests that alloy composition may be sufficient to identify which foundry cast a particular sculpture.

To read the rest of the post, click here.  And then wander around the site like I did and get lost in the wonderful world of University research.  I was happy to see that Duke has a great post there this week, with a recent study on depression.

On another – yet slightly related – note, while searching for an image to accompany this post, I stumbled upon a website for a company in the UK that sells paintings based on one’s DNA.  Essentially, you send in a cheek swab and they analyze it, decode your DNA, and turn it into a painting.  According to the website,

Owning a piece of DNA Art is one of the most personalized unique gifts available to buy today. DNA Art gives your home or office something truly unique, it’s
“The 21st Century Portrait”.

No two people in the World have the same DNA and therefore you are guaranteed a truly original piece of contemporary art on Canvas, Metal or Perspex that will be the envy of all your friends.

Coupled with the styles and ranges available there can be nothing more personal, nothing more individual, and nothing more you.


I’ll leave it to you to decide what you think about that.  I’ve got my opinion, but I’m keeping it to myself.

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